Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

WU News


I'm sure that those of you who are alumni remember your first days at Willamette. I definitely do. You might think it's because I'm still here on campus and witness each year anew, but I don't think that's it. I think that for most, the first day of college is just a big deal. It represents so much more than embarking on some new adventure. It's the first day of a whole new way of thinking, of a tangle of paths you will navigate to get to the person you will eventually be.

Coming from such a small town, I remember how incredibly overwhelmed I felt as I walked on campus. Neither of my parents had ever attended college, so they were in much the same boat. Everyone seemed so much more at ease than I felt and the campus seemed huge and confusing. What on earth was I doing?

Now, you've all been to campus. It's about the equivalent of four city blocks if we're being generous, but to someone from a town of less than 10,000, a full city block is like a foreign country. 

Somehow, of course, it all worked out.

These memories have been rushing around in my head as campus braces for the arrival of the new class and my husband John and I prepare to host a group of freshman at our home for an Opening Days Dinner. Hopefully these new students will find a little familiarity and comfort in the stories of our first days at Willamette. We know that we'll benefit from having the students around and getting to know them!

Which brings me to the final point. The Opening Days Dinner is just one example of a way to stay connected with WU. I encourage you to look in to ways to influence the lives of WU students and young alumni, too. Maybe it'll be a regional admission event or a program through the Career Network. Whatever you decide, take a look at the many ways to stay engaged. I think it'll be worth your time.


Denise Callahan '95, MBA'00
Senior Director of Alumni Relations